Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Kakiage" tempura, two kinds かきあげ 2種類

When I posted soft shell crab tempura, I used a new recipe for the tempura batter which included Vodka. Soft shell crab tempura, however, was not the best way to assess the tempura crust. As promised, I did another test with "kakiage" tempura. Kakiage is tempura made of small pieces of ingredients bound by batter/crust. I made two kinds of kakiage.   

Sakura-ebi and onion kakiage: I used boiled and dried Sakura-ebi 桜 海老 which I kept in the freezer and thinly sliced red onion. To extract moisture from the onion, I mixed the onion slices with cake flour and a small pinch of salt. After 10 minutes, moisture came out and the flour sticks to the onion. I lifted the onion and shook it slightly to remove excess flour and mixed it with the sakura-ebi (whatever amount you like) before adding it to the tempura batter.

Fresh corn kakiage: This is the same as the one I posted before. We had fresh corn (not locally grown for sure). I removed the kernels by slicing them off the cob with a knife.

Tempura batter: This is the same as I posted before and based on the recipe from America's test kitchen. To briefly reiterate, I made the wet component by mixing water (or seltzer water, but I do not think this makes any difference) and Vodka in 1:1 radio. For two cups total, I added one whole egg, beaten. (The amount of egg should be proportional to the amount of water and vodka so reduce or increase the egg accordingly. For example, is the amount of water and vodka is reduced by half then use half and egg. The dry component is a mixture of cake flour and potato starch in 4-5:1 ratio.

First put the dry ingredient in a bowl and add the wet component to mix. The consistency I was looking for is like a runny pancake batter. For the fresh corn kakiage, I added corn and mixed in the batter. The amount of the batter is just enough to coat all the corn kernels and a bit more. Using a spoon, I put the mixture into hot oil (as usual peanut oil, 370F or so), turned over once during the frying. For the red onion and Sakura-ebi, I mixed them into the batter and just using cooking chop sticks, I put the mixture into the hot oil. I tried to make both kakiage into a sort of flat disk. Again, I turned it over once during the frying.

The results? Well, this new batter does create a lighter and crispier crust, although the difference is not gigantic. Both the traditional and Vodka batters produced good kakiage. As you can see we were in portion control mode here.

A few days later, I made a small "Kakiage donburi" かき揚げ丼 as a "shime" 〆 or ending dish from the leftover. I baked the kakiage in a 400F preheated toaster oven for 7-8 minutes placing the kakiage on a perforated metal tray over another deeper metal tray so that any excess oil which exuded from kakiage dripped down into the lower tray. The baking made the edges a bit dark but made the kakiage crispy and hot again.

I made a sauce with dashi, mirin, and soy sauce. I made it rather strong in taste but small in amount. I heated the mixture in a sauce pan and poured it over the kakiage and rice. I garnished it with blanched broccolini. For leftover kakiage, this was pretty good.

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